Updated: Sep 3, 2021
Business Strategy as a Service (BSaaS) can become a competitive advantage for startups, specially with technical cofounders. Here is the playbook of business strategy explained in details.
The 2020 coronavirus pandemic showed us how businesses are fragile. Many businesses are not prepared to react fast enough to market fluctuations.
In addition, lock down as the result of pandemic cost a country like Australia around $300M every day!
This is a massive number.
UK economy* shrank by 20% as the result of the crisis and many businesses wiped out. As a result, many people lost their jobs and now are dependent on government help and stimulus packages.
Now that the era of “Uncertainty” has begun and founders need to figure a way to deal with this new dilemma.
I have lot of conversations with technology startups and when I start asking questions around where they want to go, or what areas they want to improve, or when they want to achieve their goals and targets, I hear one answer all the time: "I do not know!”
It is no wonder that even startups ecosystem leaders do not know what solutions and what capabilities they need to have now so they can support and enable the business in the coming years.
New startups are coming to the market just as a response to competition and not as the result of a comprehensive market research or target market value proposition. Emerging market response to business investment in addition to political complexity in the middle east will increase the risk of any investment with a high level of uncertainty around what will be the best set of decisions to exploit new markets.
Digital forces are coming from each side of the market; All of these forces are making dramatic changes in the market positioning and brand of an organization and guess what happens if your company does not respond fast enough?
There are 3 pillars of a successful business strategy which all great businesses are relying on and will try hard to excel at: — Branding — Marketing — Sales If you as a business leader, founder or CEO, can aggregate all your resources, and push hard to improve on these 3 pillars correctly, you will build a successful company.
Note that my focus is on top-line revenue. My definition of success is how to build up a strong pipeline and build a predictable revenue stream for your business.
Of course the two other areas of product and customer success are also very important. These are all part of a broad strategy and as a start founder you need to be a generalist to be able to improve the business.
Branding as a Service
If You Don’t Give the Market the Story to Talk About, They Will Define Your Brand Story for You.
This is actually a quote from David Brier on branding. Branding is such an important concept in business, especially for tech startups and first-time founders which is normally underrated. This is one of the most important aspects of the business and need deeper attention. Let’s dive in. Branding is one of the main pillars of business and normally it has been underrated by tech businesses, including startups. What branding does for you and your business is the very foundation of your relationship with your target market and also existing customers. Branding is the promise that you make to your customers. Please note that I am not talking about your slogan. That is not branding. Of course, slogan is only one small element of your brand identity. However, everything you do and do not do, identify your brand and brand positioning among your competitors. This is including your logo, slogan, colors that you are using, website design, marketing messaging and materials, sales team and your sales language, how to treat your employees and customers, your office arrangements, and so on. You always need to be aware of what brand message your competitors are using and how their branding is evolving. Let’s remember that it is absolutely Ok for brands to evolve and even reinvent themselves. Marketing as a Service Show your true passion through your content, marketing campaigns, and sales language. Establish your relationship with your customers very clearly. Are you going to be a trusted advisor, high-end luxury service provider, cost-effective alternative in the market, 24 x 7 consultant, disruptor, innovator, etc. Brands should show emotions and at the same time, show why you are doing what you are doing backed up by data. craft your story in a way that both right and left-brainers can communicate with your message. Left brainers understand the world through details, logic, and numbers. On the other hand, right-brainers perceive the world through emotions. Your story should consist of both sides of the coin. Craft your vision and what is the end game for your target market, and then back it up with numbers and data. Do not pitch! Not now!! Do not use your branding story to pitch your products and services. People hate pitching. Simply tell them the truth about your back story, why you exist, and what is the end game. This is not a copy write. This is not an advertising platform. There will be times that you will do that . . . a lot! But not when you are trying to catch the eyes of the customers. Build a relationship with them first and then and only then you can sell. Articulate why and how you are different. Explain your point of differentiation. Focus on one or two that your target persona and target market are heavily using. Show them the backstage and how you actually run your business. Share day to day challenges of operating the business (boring stuff) and share your wins and losses. This should not take you more than 15 min per day. Plus, it is fun to talk about yourself!! Ask people outside of your business (customers, prospects, clients, strangers, competitors) how they perceive you. That is your brand. Period. It does not matter what you say about yourself. How you have been perceived is your brand. If you want to change your brand, change people’s perception. Focus on those activities that you want to be known for. This is both for personal and company brand. There are some cases that the founder of the business decides to build the company brand around himself. This is a risky strategy. You can easily test that idea. Go to the market place or series of companies and ask them how much money they are willing to pay you, so they can have you in their firm. Or, simply how much they pay you if they hire you. If the number is anything less than $200k (in the Australian market) then it is highly likely that you are relatively unknown. If it is between $200k to $600k (AUD), then it means that you have a minimum level of value. If it is between $600k to $1 Million (again in AUD), it means that you have a good reputation in the market, but of course, you are not a celebrity yet. If your salary is more than $1 Million per year, this means that your name alone + your skills can generate at least $25 Million in revenue for the next year. Guaranteed! Meanwhile, you must understand what your competition is doing and how they deliver their message to their or your target market. Always improve on that. Always be better at your competition. Not only from a price perspective, but also from a brand perspective. Generate qualified leads I cannot stress out on how important and simple this is. I have worked with many established organizations and startups and saw how many organizations are struggling with this. Companies make it very hard for themselves to generate high quality leads for different reasons. It is either lack of experience, fear of failure, lack of authority when it comes to making decisions, or trying to do everything themselves. This is a trap that many first time founders fall into. You do not need to do everything by yourself. However, you must come up with marketing ideas yourself. From an execution perspective, things can be outsourced. As a founder and entrepreneur, you must start thinking about how you can get the attention of your target market and how to segment your market properly. What plans and activities should be done and how to measure the success rate. Then, when it comes to execution, you can outsource it to a marketing agency or a subcontractor to actually do the job for you. The key here is to become a world-class marketer. Drive website traffic There are many different things you can do to increase your website traffic. Google Ad is one of the most basic and indeed effective way of moving traffic to your landing page or website. The key here is to make sure your website is optimized for those relevant keywords and also your website has a funnel behind it. Note that it will not be enough to just have a website that explains how your product works. You need more than that. 80% of marketing tactics and initiatives will fail and all the revenue and leads are coming from 20% of the projects. It does not matter if you like it or not. From a statistics perspective, the majority of your success comes from a few projects that you run and implement very well. The rest is a waste of time and money. But are they??! Sales as a Service
Not all business development strategies are of equivalent effect. Truth be told a ton of the exercises of numerous experts are exceptionally sharp and strategic in nature. This is particularly evident with numerous sales practitioners. Gotten between the weights of customer work and a critical requirement for new business, business leaders cast about for something fast and simple that will create momentary outcomes. Strategic business development is the arrangement of business development procedures and methodology with your association’s key business objectives. The job of key business development is to procure perfect customers for your most noteworthy need utilizing brand guarantees that you can convey upon. Choosing which focuses to seek after and methodologies to utilize to grow new business is really a high stakes choice. A decent methodology, all-around executed, can drive elevated levels of development and benefit. A defective technique can obstruct development and baffle significant ability. However numerous organizations flounder at this basic advance. They depend on propensity, accounts, and trends — or more terrible still, “this is the means by which we have consistently done it.” In a later segment, we’ll cover how to build up your vital business development plan. In any case, first, we’ll cover a portion of the systems that may go into that arrangement. Relationships are likely the most generally utilized business development methodology. It’s based on the hypothesis that expert relationship builders purchasing choices are established seeing someone, and the most ideal approach to grow new connections is through up close and personal networks. It absolutely is genuine that numerous connections do create in that manner. What’s more, on the off chance that you are organizing with your intended interest group, you can grow new business. However, there are confinements. The present purchasers are very time compelled, and organizing is tedious. It very well may be over the top expensive, on the off chance that you consider travel and time away from the workplace. More up to date computerized organizing methods can help on the expense and time front. Be that as it may, even online networking requires a speculation of time and consideration. The nearby relative of relationships, referrals are frequently observed as the component that transforms relationship and customer fulfillment into new business. You build up a relationship, and that individual alludes to new business to you. Fulfilled customers do likewise. Unmistakably, referrals do occur, and numerous organizations get most or the entirety of their business from them. In any case, referrals are uninvolved. They depend on your customers and contacts to recognize great possibilities for your administrations and make a referral at the ideal time. The issue is referral sources frequently don’t have the foggiest idea about the full scope of how you can support a customer. Such a significant number of referrals are inadequately coordinated to your abilities. Other all around coordinated referrals go unmade in light of the fact that your referral source neglects to perceive an extraordinary possibility when they see one. Would you be able to grow new business straightforwardly by supporting occasions and publicizing? It would take care of a great deal of issues in the event that it works. Not any more attempting to get time from completely used billable experts. Sadly, the outcomes on this front are not extremely reassuring. Studies have demonstrated that customary publicizing is really connected with more slow development. Just when promoting is joined with different procedures, for example, talking at an occasion, do these strategies prove to be fruitful. The most encouraging publicizing procedure is by all accounts all around focused computerized promoting. This permits firms to get their messages and offers before the ideal individuals at a lower cost. Proficient administration firms have been utilizing calls and mail to legitimately target potential customers for quite a long time. Focus on the correct firms and jobs with an important message and you would hope to discover new open doors that can be formed into customers. There are two or three key difficulties with these techniques. First, they are generally costly, so they should be perfect to be successful. Second, on the off chance that you don’t get the possibility at the correct time, your offer may have no intrigue significance — and therefore, no effect on business improvement. The key is to have an engaging offer conveyed to a certified and responsive rundown. It is difficult to get this mix right. Here, the procedure is to make your aptitude obvious to potential purchasers and referral sources. This is practiced through composition, talking, or distributing content that shows your skill and how it very well may be applied to tackle customer issues. Books, articles, and talking commitment have for some time been staples of expert relationship business development. Numerous high permeability specialists have fabricated their practices and firms upon this procedure.
The result of having a clear strategy around branding, marketing and sales as a startup founder will be a strong solid foundation of a business that can grow exponentially.